Basic ADA Website Accessibility Training For Your Team
Once you’ve conducted website accessibility testing and you’ve fixed and barriers in your site, you want your site to stay accessible. For this to happen, everyone adding content to your site must understand the importance of website accessibility and how to maintain it. ADA website accessibility training will help your team understand why online accessibility is important, and how they can maintain website accessibility in the future.
ADA Website Accessibility Training For All Team Members
Website accessibility involves many layers of skills. It’s not necessary for everyone on your team to know all of the details of web accessibility. However, each person should know how to maintain accessibility for the common items that they work with. For that reason, we’ve divided ADA website accessibility training based on tasks that different members of your team are most likely to work with.
For Everyone: Why is Web Accessibility Important?
From web designer to blog writers, programmers to videographers, everyone on your team will be more likely to maintain web accessibility if they understand why it’s important. Here are a few points to emphasize at the beginning of your ADA website accessibility training, so everyone understands why web accessibility matters.
- When it’s difficult or impossible to leave your home, websites offer a virtual space that is easy to navigate, but only if the website is accessible. Web accessibility allows everyone to use the web equally.
- Web accessibility allows all users to magnify screens, use voice search, and navigate websites more easily on smaller screens. This benefits disabled users as well as abled users in situations where it’s more difficult to use a website in the traditional way, such as a bumpy bus.
- If a business is not physically accessible to all patrons, it risks lawsuits. The same is true for websites; many suits have been filed against businesses with inaccessible sites.
- Using best practices day-to-day makes accessibility audits and overhauls much easier.
Everyone on your should also have access to web accessibility policies and procedures, so everyone is on the same page. It’s also helpful to list contact information for your technical expert or accessibility expert, so staff members feel comfortable asking questions when needed. Finally, a list of links to helpful resources, such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) can also be helpful for answering questions.
Help your team stay on the same page
Download the Website Accessibility Checklist
For Writers and Photographers: Alt-Text and Formatting
Any staff members who might add text, images, videos, or sound bites to the site should know how to add these in an accessible way. It’s a good idea to extend this training to those who might work with the site in the future, as well as those who currently do. Printing out an ADA website accessibility checklist might be useful, as some of these items can be easy to overlook.
- Add alternative text (alt-text) to pictures. The alt-text should be brief, but accurately describe the picture. Make sure to demonstrate, using your CMS, how to do this when adding pictures.
- Use logical formatting. Headings and proper heading formatting (h1, h2, h3 etc) should be used in a logical order to divide content. Use bold, italics, and underlining for its actual use in the text, not as a way to format headings.
- Links are clear. Link text should accurately convey where the link is going.
- Color contrast is clear. Surprisingly, this is the most common web accessibility issue. Color contrast between text and backgrounds should be at least 4.5:1. Generally, this will already be built into the website’s styles and templates. Before changing any colors from their defaults, use accessibility testing tools like a contrast checker.
For Videographers: Closed Captions and Controls
Videos are becoming increasingly important across the worldwide web. Making accessible videos is therefore an important part of your ADA website accessibility training. Team members that create, edit, and post videos should all be aware of these elements.
- Videos use closed captions. This way videos can be understood without sound. Deaf users cannot use sound and many mobile users do not use sound, so this is a good measure for everyone.
- Audio and video do not play automatically. It’s disruptive for people using screen readers and for users in general when content plays without a command. These controls should also have a stop button.
- Video does not flash more than three times a second. Frequent flashing is distracting for everyone, and hazardous for people with seizure disorders.
For Designers and Developers: Navigation and Control
Designers and developers deal with more complex aspects of the site. These experts have more technical knowledge, but they will also have more responsibility when it comes to keeping the site accessible. Make sure that your ADA website accessibility training session and facilitator can address more complex questions related to web design and development.
- The site should be navigable with a keyboard. This means using elements like skip navigation links and menus that can be opened and dismissed on click. Any “keyboard traps” where a user can get stuck should be eliminated.
- The site has reflow capabilities. Reflow allows the site reorganize based on screen size or magnification, which is helpful for mobile users or those with visual impairments.
- The site is usable without images or color. You can test this yourself by turning off images and style sheets in your browser. If your site is tough to use without them, it’s even more difficult for someone using a screen reader.
- How to test. Since designers and developers are responsible for the site’s function, navigation, and appearance, they should know how to test the site to ensure any changes or additions are still accessible. A number of programmatic testing tools and manual testing procedures can help.
Though some will have more experience with the website than others, it’s important to remember that web accessibility is not just one person’s responsibility. Anyone working with the website should understand how to maintain web accessibility, and why it’s important. ADA website accessibility training combined with audits and corrective measures will ensure that your site remains accessible to all patrons.